INDI is rock solid. The software works incredibly well.
The client -- has some things it needs work on. The dialog for location, has no concept in it of direction, although allows for non-directional values to be inputted into it. This design needs to take a page out of the book of every other planetarium. I set mine to what SkySafari said, verbatim, and my mount as a result was sent off in directions that were laughable. The client settings for the location data, needs to be fool proof. Fools like me, apparently, will get stumbled by this.
The rotation.... Oh my. The camera can have images plate solved by it, that give the camera angle... and the rotator has two (identical) values that do zero good for trying to rotate the image how you want it. I can do this in 3 seconds in SGP, I spent 30 minutes trying to get KStars to do this, and had to repeatedly abort the rotation via my NiteCrawler in the INDI driver, because it just kept spinning. This is not good.
The planetarium is apparently not something well integrated with the software. I moved my FOV indicator, and that did nothing to change where the scope could possibly slew. When I clicked on the object (Crescent Nebula) it kept calling it "Empty Sky in Cygnus". The only way I could get it to actually work correctly was to look up the object in the database and tell it to slew to it. That is not intuitive at all.
What needs to happen is that the client here needs to get to the same level as other software like SGP. SGP doesnt even have a planetarium built into it and yet as soon as I unplugged the Pi and plugged in my Windows laptop, things just worked. Without me spending large amounts of time trying to explain to KStars what I was trying to accomplish.
This is far off the mark, no offense intended, and it doesnt need to be. The last problem I had before I gave up was that KStars just crashed with no dialog about it. It just disappeared. That also is not good.
KStars and INDI are software developed by the people, for the people. The developers are astrophotographers themselves with another hobby in programming trying to make great free astrophotography software available to all. In my mind, one goal is to have free software to do all the aspects of astrophotography like plate solving, guiding, image sequences, automatic focus, planetarium program. Another goal is that this works on all computer platforms such as Windows, Macs, and (most) variants of Linux. Another goal is that the device communication/control works not only in the same program, but shared among various programs, and even shared over the network with both wifi and ethernet. With such goals and developers who are all volunteers, it is going to take time to get everything working perfectly and just like any software out there, there are always bugs that need to be worked out. Is software like SGP or Maxim DL or the Sky X going to be more refined and less buggy, yes of course because they are software developed by paid software developers and extensive software testing. But I think in the last several years, KStars and INDI have come a long way toward both realizing their potential and have improved quite a bit in terms of both usability and performance.
When I first started using KStars and INDI in 2016, it did not work at all on Mac computers, there were a number of issues entering information into the options box for plate solving, there were a number of driver bugs, and all kinds of issues that I found. But it worked on my Raspberry Pi and it worked over Wifi which was amazing at the time because no other software could do that! So I carefully noted the issues and reported them to the software development team who actually made very significant changes to the software extremely quickly. I was very impressed with both their responsiveness to my suggestions, their skill at implementing them, and the speed at which things got fixed. I was impressed by this so much that I decided to learn C++ and dedicate a bunch of my own personal time to this project as well. I want to see this project succeed and I'm willing to put in my own free time to further its goals. So I ported the software, making a bunch of changes to make it work on Mac OS X and also contributed in a number of other ways I thought I could make things better. I like doing this hobby just as much as I like doing astrophotography and better yet, other people can benefit because now they get free software that can do some really amazing things. This really raises the bar on both the quality and the ability of software that is available to beginning amateur astrophotographers, and really lowers the bar on the challenging entry requirements into the hobby.
If you have some issues with the software, the good news is that it is free of cost and you lose no money by using it or trying it, except maybe for money spent on a raspberry pi or other hardware. But more importantly, if you do find issues with the software, please report the issues, document them, tell us what went wrong, how it went wrong, take screenshots and take log files. Then submit them so that we can fix the issues. Even better, please try and determine what the issues are. We want to fix any bugs and make the software better for everyone, but if we don't understand what the issues are or you don't tell us about them, we can't fix them. In this sense, it is not a good idea to view KStars as a static end product, where you just evaluate it, decide there is something you don't like, and move on and give a bad evaluation of the software and spend your money on something else. It is a much better idea in my mind to view the program as an evolving astrophotography tool that we all keep trying to improve and use to take great astrophotos. If you have any programming experience, we can always definitely use help, but even suggestions and finding and reporting bugs can help the project. We really rely on the end users for this, so please help us out. You said "What needs to happen is that the client here needs to get to the same level as other software like SGP," I totally agree with you. But you need to note that to get it to that same level we need your help. Then we can make it better for everyone.
In terms of your post, you are stating several issues, and I would like to help you and get you to the right people to help solve your problems, but there are no screenshots to make it clear what the issues are, there is no log file to show what happened and I'm not even sure I understand what the issues are. Please give us more information about these issues so they can get fixed.
Issue 1: You said "the dialog for location," are you talking about the geographic location? Are you talking about the Mount control box and the sky location? What do you mean by the directional values, do you mean negative signs, or N/S/E/W combo boxes? If you would like us to look into why it was sent off in a different direction, we need the log and info about where it was sent and why.
Issue 2: This one is more clear and I think it could probably be solved with some log files. But I don't know if it would be an INDI or KStars issue. I would suggest doing a detailed experiment and send in the logs.
Issue 3: Are you talking about right clicking on an object in KStars and telling it to goto the object? I understand your frustration on this one. I have been frustrated by it myself. It is not that the planetarium program is not well integrated, in fact the planetarium program IS the software. The database is not Ekos's database that KStars is accessing, it is the other way around. Actually the issue is with the "find object" function. The issue is that where you click the mouse there could be a number of objects close to where you click. The software has to determine which object you meant to click on. So it has to evaluate what objects are close to that position, which objects are more significant near that position, and what you may have actually wanted to click on. This is not as easy to implement as it sounds. You wouldn't want to try to right click on a DSO and instead get a dim 14th magnitude star that is actually closer to where you clicked. I know that Jasem and Csaba recently made some improvements to this function but it still doesn't work perfectly. There are other ways to find objects in KStars, you can use the Whats Interesting tool, the Whats up Tonight tool, the Find object tool. This one will improve with time.
Issue 4: A crash is never good, but we can't do anything at all about it if we don't know what you were doing when it crashed. We need at least some information about what was happening at the time. A log file would be even better.
We don't take offense certainly, but we do need you to understand that this is a free astrophotography suite with very lofty goals and a number of dedicated volunteers who are working to make it better. We want to help, but you need to help us to get it there.
I am going to try this again tonight, now that I will not be in a rush to get some data rolling before going to sleep for work.
I fixed the location thing, and Jasem posted a new video showing how to use the rotation with KStars and I see now what I was doing wrong. I'll likely just use the build in databases to slew to different objects.
Is there an easy way to move the FOV indicator to a spot, and slew/center on that?
Usually what I do is I move my mouse cursor over what I want to look at, get it in the right place so that the mouseover label of what I want comes up. Then I know that KStars knows which object I want and it is the right one, and then I right click on it and tell my telescope to Track the object. I found that mousing over it till my mouse cursor is in the right spot usually solves the problem of kstars not finding something when you try to right click on an object. That being said, if you just want the telescope to go to and track wherever your FOV is currently pointing currently, just right click on the spot whether there is an object there or not and tell your scope to track the "empty sky." It can track whatever point you click.
There are other ways to slew your telescope around as well such as the mount control toolbox, the whats interesting sidebar, the whats up tonight tool, and the find dialog. Also, if you have already taken an image, you can use the telescope centering tool in the Fitsviewer to click on the image to tell your scope where to recenter the object. That last one was one of my additions.
I think you misunderstood what I mean by logs. Sorry I thought you knew. In the Ekos window, please click on "Logs." You will see a dialog that looks a lot like this. Please click "verbose" and "file". Check all the boxes for Ekos and the drivers that are relevant to what you were doing when the crash occurred. Please recreate the crash so that all the information about what is going on in the program gets logged. Then reopen Kstars, click the "open logs directory button" and get the relevant file(s). You can attach the log text file to this forum. You can then either keep the logging turned on or turn it back off again.
Although I still use KStars and INDI, I have to agree that I shifted from using it fulltime to using it to set everything up, then switching to SGP. And It's totally not meant, as the TS also states, as a rant, we all love the enormous effort put into this still free software. It has so much potential, INDI rocks, but at the end of the day an astrophotographer needs to be able to rely on a system. My problem with it is that I updated to much, also my fault, but I noticed that stuff that always worked, suddenly didn't, then it did again, then it didn't. Things like the guider or my Canon, it fluctuated too much between versions to be able to rely on the updates. Again, totally get it, I programme as a hobby as well, still love the open-source of it and I might even go an learn to get involved into INDI as well. But these basic things fluctuating has been a thing since I started in 2015, our Dutch weather is terrible, so I kind of had to switch at some point. I do keep a good eye out on it though, the moment I think it's working great again with my setup I'll go back 100%. For the same reason of stability which is also needed and INDI totally offers that, Windows isn't my thing either.
Regarding moving "FOV indicator" to a different place. Yes, you can do that. How? Just double click at any place in the sky map and that's it. Unless I am missing something but the FOV should be there in the center of the sky map.